August 30, 2008


CHS, Homer to face off in finals

Rivals post first round tourney wins at Butts Field


Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Kourtenee Kohne of Homer Central heads the ball during Friday’s    1-0 season opening tournament win over New Hartford at Butts Field. Homer will play Cortland High in tonight’s title game.

Staff Writer

It will be a Cortland-Homer soccer showdown tonight in the championship game of the inaugural Homer Girls’ Tournament at George W. Butts Field.
Cortland High got a goal from Katherine Hunsberger just 16 seconds into the game and cruised to a 4-1 victory over Rome Free Academy in the opening varsity first round match.
Host Homer Central followed with a 1-0 win over New Hartford in the second match to set-up the local showdown at 6:30 p.m. Saturday back at Butts Field. A first half goal by Kailee Williams was the game-winner for the Trojans.
New Hartford and Rome Free Academy will play in consolation game at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.
The same two match-ups will take place in the junior varsity portion of the tournament, except New Hartford and Rome Free will meet for the championship at 2:30 p.m. while Cortland and Homer clash in the consolation match at 12:30 p.m. RFA was a 1-0 winner over Cortland before New Hartford posted a 4-0 victory over Homer in the junior varsity bracket.
Cortland 4, Rome Free 1: Cortland wasted little time after taking the opening kickoff and racing down the field where Hunsberger quickly shot the ball past RFA goalkeeper Emma Duchesneau for the 1-0 advantage in 16 seconds. Duchesneau finished with nine saves in the game.
“I think RFA misjudged the speed on the turf,” said Cortland High coach Abbey Albright of the quick start. “Katherine got to the ball quickly and fired the ball into the goal.
“It really helped,” Albright continued. “The girls got more relaxed as the game went along and they began to feel more comfortable.”
Cortland continued to apply pressure after that quick strike. Five minutes later, Aubrey Van Gorder fired a shot towards the right post and Duchesneau made a great diving save. Duchesneau could not control the ball and Elle DePerno fired the rebound attempt wide.
As play moved into the 11th minute, Hunsinger banged a shot off the right post. As play seemed to settle, Alexis Keeney lofted a shot over Duchesneau’s head and the ball settled into the back of the goal for a 2-0 CHS lead.
Rome Free mounted few offensive chances in the first half, but the Black Knights missed one good chance with 27 minutes left in the half, but Jacklyn Welch’s crossing attempt was grabbed by Purple Tiger goalkeeper Hannah Polanko-Baker (five saves).
With 15:43 left in the half, DePerno lofted another floater towards the goal. Again the ball sailed over Duchesneau’s head for a 3-0 advantage.
Hunsinger missed two other golden opportunities with clear looks at the goal. The first time Duchesneau made a face-to-face save on a rocket from 15 yards out and the other shot went wide right of the goal.
The only other good shot was by Taylor Reynolds with nine minutes left and Duchesneau made the save.
The only RFA shot came from 35 yards out by Sarah Southwell. The long chip was easily grabbed by Polanko-Baker.
Cortland controlled most of the play during the first 13 minutes of the second half, the Purple Tigers could not find the back of the net.
With 21:14 remaining, Van Gorder connected from 12 yards out to give Cortland a 4-0 cushion.
“We are not just a one go-to person team. We got of lot of shots from a lot of different people. I like that we have a lot of different tools to work with on offense,” said Albright.
The final 16 minutes saw Rome Free press the attack as Coach Albright was getting her subs some valuable playing time.
Southwell rifled a shot off the crossbar with 15:40 remaining before the Black Knights finally scored. With the pack coming together, Leigh Shoemaker redirected the ball past Polanko-Baker for the only RFA tally.
RFA got two more shots with 30 seconds of each other as play moved inside the 11-minute mark. Alyssa Torres chipped a shot and Welch fired from mid-range. Polanko-Baker stopped both chances.
With 9:40 remaining, Lisa Dovi stepped into the goal for the Purple Tigers. She faced no shots as play settled down at both ends of the field.
Homer 1, New Hartford 0: For Homer, it was a game that the Trojans really dominated but had to stay sharp for the entire 90 minutes because of the lone goal scored by Williams. That tally arrived with 10:43 left in the first half when Williams scored from 23 yards out on a direct kick.
“I thought we played well for this early in the season,” Homer coach Jim Baranello said. “We had the opportunities. We passed the ball well and we applied a lot of pressure.
“The starters did a nice job,” he continued. “I was pleased with the play of the kids off the bench.”
The Trojans ran the field well from end line to end line. There were good crossing passes and shots were fired from a number of angles, but New Hartford goalkeeper Emily Zippin answered the challenges. Even shots that came out of a crowd were corralled by Zippin, who made 14 saves on the Homer’s shots on goals.
Meanwhile, Trojan goalkeeper Danielle Reygers was tested only twice and made both stops. Part of her inactivity came from a strong back line defense and steady ball control at midfield.
“The entire back line played very well,” Baranello said. “It is tough to single out that many people because everyone really did well. Every Homer player knew their role and executed.”
“I will say that I thought Rayne Perry worked hard,” he added. “Emma Porter did not play like an eighth grader and Emily Williams really deserves a lot of credit. She was sick, but kept on battling. We got good leadership from the seniors, but it was really a total team effort.”
Rome Free 1, Cortland 0: After a scoreless first half, RFA got the only goal of the game with 11:50 left when Megan O’Connell found the back of the net.
Amanda Shelley made five saves for Cortland while Rachel Noone stopped all three Purple Tiger shots.
“We played well,” Cortland coach Brian Rogers said. “We really made just one mistake at the top of the 18 and they scored on it. We had a little trouble getting the ball to the wings, but I think we are really coming together as a team.”
Rogers cited Amanda DeGraff and Hayley Meldrim for good defensive efforts.
New Hartford 4, Homer 0: Dalia Kaakour and Ashley Chanatry each scored twice in the first half as New Hartford took control in the first 40 minutes.
The Trojans made a much better second half and that was encouraging for coach Allison Cook.
“We are really a young team,” Cook said. “I thought we played well for the first game. We played a much better second half and really stepped it up a lot.”
Jessica Mitchell made 14 saves for Homer while Mallory Smith and Mariel Heyboer combined for four saves in the New Hartford nets.